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‘Chalo Badal pind chalo’ is farmers’ chant
Talks with Chief Minister fail
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A one-point agenda for members of two major organisations of farmers is to reach Badal, native village of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on March 10 for “Niberra Karro” (settle once-and-for-all) dharna in support of their demands.

The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union will organise a massive rally at Bathinda on March 5 to mobilise farmers and farm workers for the March 10 Niberra Karro rally at Badal village. On March 8 and 9, farmers and farm workers from all over the state will start converging at Badal village where they will stay put in a peaceful dharna till their demands are conceded.

When leaders of both Unions came out of the Punjab Bhawan after a long meeting with the Chief Ministerl and senior functionary, all they had to say was “Chalo Badal pind chalo” indicating the failure of the talks.

“Why is the Chief Minister expressing helplessness to accept our long-standing genuine demands on the pretext of poor fiscal health of the state. The government has money for everything but for poor farmers or families of those farmers who while reeling under heavy debts ended their lives. How can the state government absolve itself of the responsibility of compensating families of the victims of suicides?” asked leaders of the two major unions of farmers and farm workers.

Talking to The Tribune, the leaders held that the Chief Minister only offered to make a statement in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha during its ongoing session. “How does it help us or the families of farmers who ended their lives after their inability to pay back their farm loans?” they said. “We stand by our earlier announced programme of starting the Niberra Karo dharna at Badal village on March 10. The dharna will continue till the issue is clinched,” said Ujagar Singh Ugrahan of BKU (Ekta).

Both Ujagar Singh Ugrahan and Sukhdev Singh Kokri held that they insisted on jobs and a compensation package for the families of farmers who had committed suicide. The Chief Minister, they said, even refused to take the matter to the Cabinet and pass a resolution and make some budgetary provisions for meeting these demands.

“Instead, he made excuses citing poor fiscal health of the state as reason for his inability to make any firm commitment,” alleged the farm leaders.

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